One can only hope many voters have finally figured out that the reactionaries they voted into office in 2010 used a “balance the budget” mantra to hide their real agenda — to further enrich the super-wealthy by stealing from the poor and middle class. And let’s hope some who still don’t understand the con game will check out Robert Reich’s piece on the new budget and tax plan introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan:
…It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. This would give the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year.
The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor.
Seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance or Medicare – but the subsidies would be capped. So as medical costs increased, seniors would fall further and further behind.
Other cuts would come out of food stamps, Pell grants to offset the college tuition of kids from poor families, and scores of other programs that now help middle-income and the poor…
Ryan says too many Americans rely on government benefits. “We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency.”
Well, I have news for Paul Ryan. Almost 23 million able-bodied people still can’t find work. They’re not being lulled into dependency. They and their families could use some help. Even if the economy continues to generate new jobs at the rate it’s been going the last three months, we wouldn’t see normal rates of unemployment until 2017.
And most Americans who do have jobs continue to lose ground. New research by professors Emmanual Saez and Thomas Pikkety show that the average adjusted gross income of the bottom 90 percent was $29,840 in 2010 – down $127 from 2009 and down $4,842 from 2000 – and just slightly higher than it was forty-six years ago in 1966 (all figures adjusted for inflation).
So if you take Ryan at his word, and you assume his policies will work exactly as he hopes, what you get is a plan that lowers taxes and lowers the deficits mostly by cutting health-care subsidies and income supports for the poor, and only then by cutting Medicare.